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Egypt: A final battle in parliamentary elections

Next week 202 candidates will lock horns as they try to fill the remaining 101 empty seats in the House of Representatives

Gamal Essam El-Din , Thursday 3 Dec 2020
A final battle
A number of Mostaqbal Watan candidates will face tough competition in the runoffs (photo: Reuters)

Voters in 13 governorates will head to the polls on 7 and 8 December to cast their ballots in the final run-off round of parliamentary elections. Expats abroad will be able to vote between 5 and 7 December.

The competition will be limited to individual seats after the Mostaqbal Watan-led National List swept party list districts.

In the governorates of Cairo, Qalioubiya, Daqahliya, Menoufiya, Gharbiya, Kafr Al-Sheikh, Sharqiya, Damietta, Port Said, Ismailia, Suez, North Sinai and South Sinai 101 seats in 52 districts are being contested by 202 candidates.

Lasheen Ibrahim, head of the National Election Authority (NEA), reported that 41 individual seats had been filled in the first round of the second stage of parliamentary elections held between 4 and 8 November.

As expected, candidates affiliated with the pro-regime Mostaqbal Watan claimed most of them. The successful candidates included prominent businessmen such as Mohamed Al-Sallab and Tarek Othman; Ashraf Hatem, a former minister of health, in Cairo’s downtown Abdine and Zamalek district; and Ahmed Al-Taibi, a construction magnate in the south Cairo district of Maadi.

In the run-off round scheduled next week, a number of Mostaqbal Watan candidates face uphill battles against independent rivals. In Maadi, the Mostaqbal Watan candidate Ali Abdel-Wanis faces a strong challenge from Akmal Qortam, an oil business tycoon and chairman of the opposition Conservatives Party. In Heliopolis and Nasr City, Amr Al-Sonbati, the Mostaqbal Watan candidate and chairman of Heliopolis Sporting Club, is standing against independent candidate Samar Fouda, the daughter of Farag Fouda, the secularist thinker assassinated by an Islamist extremist in 1992.

In East Cairo’s Hadayek Al-Qobba district, Mostaqbal Watan’s Sayed Nasr is standing against Hussein Abu Gad of the Modern Egypt Party.

In Damietta governorate, Nasserist candidate Diaaeddin Dawoud is involved in a ferocious battle against Mostaqbal Watan’s Ayman Youssef Rakha. Two other Nasserists, Mohamed Abdel-Ghani and Ahmed Al-Sharkawi, are standing in the Cairo district of Al-Zeitoun and the Daqahliya governorate district of Mansoura.

The Wafd Party has six candidates in next week’s run-off stage. Topping the list is journalist Mohamed Abdel-Alim. He will run against Salah Al-Maadawi in the Kafr Al-Sheikh district of Fiwa.

In Menoufiya, Karim Talaat Ahmed Esmat Al-Sadat, the son of late president Anwar Al-Sadat’s nephew Talaat, is in competition with four other candidates.

The final results of the run-off round of the first stage of parliamentary elections, held between 21 and 24 November in 14 governorates, were announced on Monday. Mostaqbal Watan won 58 out of the 110 individual seats that were up for grabs. Independent won 27 seats, the Republican People’s party nine seats and the Salafist Nour Party secured seven. The Guardians of the Nation Party managed four seats, the Egyptian Freedom party two, while the Wafd won a lone seat.

Ibrahim said turnout was lower than the first round of voting, with just 20 per cent of voters participating compared to 28 per cent in the first round. “While 25.2 million citizens were eligible to vote in last week’s run-off round only 5 million turned up at the polls,” said Lasheen. He added that the ballot was supervised by 10,000 judges and that all 50 appeals against election results had been rejected.

*A version of this article appears in print in the 3 December, 2020 edition of Al-Ahram Weekly






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